Book 395: Cat’s Eye

Earlier this week, I read a biography which I suspect was largely fictional, and now I’ve just finished a work of fiction which appears to be highly autobiographical. Funny how these things work. At any rate, anyone who likes Margaret Atwood should definitely read Cat’s Eye, because it has lots of interesting information about her life and formative years, and it kind of provides a context for her work.

It’s about a painter who travels to Toronto for a retrospective of her work. As the show is arranged and she wanders the city, seeing how it has changed, she also reflects on her life, looking back in time at her childhood and early years.

One of thing things which I particularly like about this book is the trio of malicious girls who torment the narrator. I think that their behaviour really illustrates how evil children can be, and how the evil of children is often ignored by people who assume that they are innocent and incapable of harming others. On the contrary, children can be far worse than adults, and these three girls epitomize the potential for evil.

The story is interesting, and it manages to be told without making a big fuss over the character and her history. She’s not an artist with a tortured past, she’s just a woman who grew up in the 1940s, and these are her experiences. This particular edition also happens to include an interview with Atwood which is pretty neat.


Cat’s Eye, by Margaret Atwood. Published 1989, 477 pages. Fiction.